Who's your favorite character?
How to create a character-driven story.
Welcome to the 28th issue of Write On!
The newsletter that can walk on water (as long as it’s frozen solid).
Estimated read time: 3 minutes 24 seconds
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a professional baseball player for the New York Yankees.
I never thought I’d be an email marketer.
But here we are 8 years later:
$50,000,000+ in email marketing revenue.
Taught a course on email marketing automation.
Run a newsletter with 13,500+ active subscribers.
I stumbled into this field by accident.
I’m lucky I did because it made me realize how powerful copywriting and storytelling can be.
For example, at one company I worked for…
We 20xed monthly revenue in less than a year on the back of email marketing.
Creative storytelling and copywriting were at the heart of our email marketing strategy.
And will be at the heart of my upcoming course: The Storywriting Playbook.
285+ Write On readers are on the waitlist to become a better storyteller so they can sell more online. Consider joining them because you’ll get:
Early access to the course launch
Sneak peeks into the course
Just click the button below 👇
Top Finds This Week:
📖 Storytelling: In 2022, Hollywood made $7,320,000,000 through storytelling. 99% of the movies used the same story framework. Here’s a breakdown (including clips from your favorites): (link)
🧠 Psychology: 5 reverse psychology tactics to close more sales (and become a master in persuasion): (link)
✍️ Write On: Notion has over 30 million users and a $10 billion valuation. They dominate by using storytelling on their landing pages (specifically Dan Harmon’s Story Circle framework). Here’s how Notion uses the Story Circle to get millions of new users on board: (link)
Who’s your favorite character?
It’s George Costanza from Seinfeld for me.
Seinfeld came out when I was a baby. So I never watched the show live.
I fell in love with the show because my mom was always watching re-runs on TBS.
So my routine in middle school looked like this:
Sports practice 3-5pm
2 episodes of Seinfeld re-runs 5-6pm
At 30 years old, it’s still my favorite show.
“Joe… what the hell does this have to do with copywriting?”
Glad you asked.
Because human brains are wired to respond to storytelling - specifically character-driven narratives.
Let me explain…
Time for a biology lesson:
Stories have the unique ability to influence our brains and trigger the release of oxytocin.
This hormone promotes trust.
A Harvard Business Review (HBR) report suggests that character-driven narratives are more effective in promoting the synthesis of oxytocin than other forms of storytelling.
That means you should create content and stories around a character to be viewed as more trustworthy.
How do I come up with a character?
“Joe, I’m not Walt Disney. How do you expect me to come up with characters to tell stories about?”
It’s easier than you think.
The most common characters an entrepreneur can use are:
Yourself / Founder
So let’s break down an example for each:
You as the character:
"I never thought I’d [unexpected outcome]."
Example from me:
“I never thought I’d be an email marketer.”
That’s how I opened today’s newsletter.
I told a quick story about how I stumbled into this career path and how it led to learning about the importance of storytelling and copywriting.
Which segues perfectly into a promotion for my course waitlist.
Much more engaging than if I had only mentioned the course and asked you to sign up, right?
Your customer as the character:
"The unexpected way [customer's name] used our [product/service] to overcome [obstacle] and reach [desired goal]."
Example for Lululemon:
"The unexpected way yoga instructor Emily used our leggings to overcome discomfort during practice and reach her goal of mastering the most challenging poses."
Then, you fill in the relevant details of the story and what was unexpected about it.
Your readers can imagine themselves in the customer’s story achieving a similar transformation.
Your brand as the character:
"The secret behind our product's [specific feature]: a relentless focus on [core value or principle]."
Example for Nike:
"The secret behind our product's cutting-edge cushioning technology: a relentless focus on enhancing athlete performance and comfort."
Then, you would tell a story about why enhancing athlete performance and comfort is so important to your brand.
This gives your audience a sense of your brand values, making you more relatable and trustworthy.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.
See you next Wednesday!
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here’re three ways I can help you:
Facts tell. Stories Sell. Use storytelling in your copywriting to grow your business. Get early access to my new course: The Storywriting Playbook (👉Add me to the waitlist!)
Write On ad slots open back up in late September. Lock in a discounted rate now while the newsletter continues to grow (👉Grab an ad slot)
Keep your writing sharp all year round and enjoy free lifetime access to my collection of Write On copywriting guides (👉View all guides)
P.P.S. If you've got a moment, I'd love to get your feedback:
What did you think of today's newsletter?